The 7 deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a murder mystery novel about a man, Aiden, who has eight days to solve Evelyns murder. A mystery element exists due to the facts that one day is actually repeated eight times, Aiden wakes up every day in other host, and to make things more tense his first host has an amnesia, also we learn that there are overall three persons trying to solve a murder in order to escape the estate. Over eight days he has to solve a murder that seems as a suicide while struggling with different bodies, minds and lives of his hosts, he has to find out who is Ana, a women who helps him one moment and betrays him another, a guy with a plague mask who seems to control everything, who are his other hosts and how they interact with each other and who are his opponents, because only one can escape.

This book has a very interesting synopsis and I like the idea behind the mystery but unfortunately it didn’t wow me at all.

First, the start is very slow, for the first hundred pages or so it is a bit boring and it took me a few days to go through them. After some time things start to get interesting, even though some parts are a bit confusing I liked the way different hosts and their actions are intertwined and how Aiden jumps to different personalities and circumstances. Toward the end it starts to get annoying again.

I didn’t like the ending, I think it is totally anticlimactic and unsatisfying (I’ll comment bellow in detail with spoilers). Also I didn’t really care about any of the characters. Maybe I’m too used to book series and I forgot how to read a standalone, but I didn’t connect with any of the characters, I was solely interested in a plot and, at the end, it didn’t deliver me a satisfying solution.

This is not a bad book, I have to give credit where credit is due, and the amount of details in overlapping time and place sequences is amazing, it probably required a tone of time and work, but the 450 pages is a bit long for this book, start is too slow and uninspiring and the end is focused more on a moral message, which I know some of you will appreciate, but I felt cheated and annoyed.

spoilers ahead

I think that a concept where a whole setting is a prison sucks. I would be more impressed if it was a purgatory or something. The whole story is set up in a Victorian mansion, and nothing, not even the end, gives you the connection with modern times and existence of a VR. If only one chapter was added or some clues through the story. It’s not a bad idea, it just doesn’t have a place in this book the way it is written.

The second thing that felt absurd is that by the end more than half of the characters are murdered, and the initial murder hasn’t even happened, the whole thing where the victim is actually the culprit is soooooo overused and is not a plot twist at all.

Finally the end! *sights* Why? Just why? I mean I get it, people can change and deserve a second chance, maybe, I don’t know, but Ana is a war criminal, a murderer, a sadist, and Aiden’s worst enemy who tortured and killed his sister and after 30 years in a VR prison she has no recollections of her life and is essentially brain washed. The end in wich she gets out of a prison “rehabilitated” and with Aiden being in love with her is A B S U R D.